Recycled Carpeting: Another Way to Support Plastic Recycling

Carpet samples in different colors

Plastics can live again … underfoot.

Any idea what happens to all that plastic we recycle? Sure, plastic bags can be made into new bags and plastic bottles into new bottles. But plastics also can be recycled into long-lasting products.

Recycled Carpeting Made with Plastic

For example, your feet may be resting on recycled plastic water or soda bottles. Most carpeting is made from plastic fibers such as nylon, polypropylene or polyester. In recent years, manufacturers have been able to create carpet fiber from recycled plastics, such as the plastic used to make beverage bottles. It takes approximately 50 two-liter bottles to create one square yard of carpet fiber.

Like “virgin” plastics, the recycled plastic carpeting fibers often are more stain-resistant and color-fast than materials such as wool, and manufacturing carpeting using recycled plastics produces fewer emissions than using virgin plastics.

Recycle Carpeting to Give Plastic Another Life

But let’s face it—no matter how great the carpeting, it’s not going to last forever. Approximately five billion pounds of carpeting are replaced each year in the U.S.

Because carpeting often has a complicated structure made of several materials, it can be difficult and expensive to recycle. However, organizations like Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) are working with manufacturers to make recycling carpeting easier and more accessible for consumers.

Recovered carpeting can be made into building products such as composite lumber, roofing shingles and recycled carpeting cushion, just to name a few. Just think – your well-used living room carpeting could become your new backyard deck!

Recycling carpeting—along with other everyday items such as bottles and household products—can help give these plastics a second life. Or a third. Or …

Visit the Carpet America Recovery Effort for more information on how to recycle carpeting.